Described as a ‘millennial nightmare’, Director Beth Fletcher’s Come Be Creepy With Us follows Anna, a young woman going to motions of being in your mid-twenties who encounters a ghost from her past. It’s a film about the pitfalls of youth, traumatic memories and letting go of what has happened. Fletcher’s utilisation of realistic practical effects is efficient in drawing you in, forcing the viewer to become as absorbed in the story as our protagonist. It’s a really strong piece of debut genre filmmaking. Twelve Cabins caught up with Fletcher, who talked manifesting her ideas from script to screen and falling in love with the genre.
What’s the origin of the idea for Come Be Creepy With Us?
Creepy originated in the mind of Michael Calciano, the writer of the film. He said he had an experience where his very on top of things friend had fallen into a rut after college. She completely stopped being able to function and this struck him as detrimental, if she couldn’t do it, could any of us? He wrote this script to explore how we handle these things, making Bonnie into the literal monster within, that ultimately can be used to help us overcome. When I first sat down to talk with him about this script it struck me because I was a year out of college at the time and as a freelancer was trying to sift through the days of working and the weeks of not, realizing that without a schedule or someone to tell me what needed to be done I was lost with no one coming to find me. We then worked the script down together to really emphasize Anna’s journey, fears becoming a reality and the sense that your dreams are trying to kill you.
I love the mixture of tones, the film goes from being super tense to comedic in seconds, was this important to you?
Yes! Because I wanted to hold a lighter, more comedic tone throughout we figured it would be fun to bait and switch the audience. I really wanted the beginning to feel like a true horror film, it’s kind of funny, kind of tense and leading you to believe she’s in danger, which she is, but then totally turn the tables when we start in the bathtub again with Bonnie.
Could you talk about creating the practical effects for the film? Was it a conscious decision not going entirely digital?
I am a huge advocate for practical effects and puppetry. If I can use practical effects for film in any way I will do so to my best ability. I value the incredible things we can do with digital effects, and obviously we have them in the film, but finding the perfect marriage between practical and digital make a movie feel more real, in my opinion. When you’re dreaming you don’t realize that things aren’t real, and when you’re watching a movie I don’t think you should have that awareness either. By shooting real elements and using them to build the world in post or by actually “drowning” Dean with a water rig I think we’re able to fall into the reality of something that is over the top and surreal that much more seamlessly.
The performances in Creepy have a great heightened realistic quality to them. How did you work with your actors on set to establish that?
In my head I envision the performances in a really particular way, and honestly it tends to be more on the cartoonish side, and on set I work toward those performances by guiding the actors there based off of what they’re doing naturally. While I’ll never tell and actor how to perform I will encourage bigger here, or emphasize that I liked what they were doing there. Mainly just heightening what their natural impulses already are. All of our actors were so skilled at bringing the truth to their performances, and it made for a lot of fun transforming that into what it is now.
Did you have any influences such as other films or filmmakers? Creepy feels like contemporary aftermath of a typically 80s horror.
Haha, “contemporary aftermath of an 80s horror” I love that. To be totally honest, I don’t have the backbone for a lot of today’s horror movies, they’re too real and terrifying, so most of my horror lexicon is made up with the films of the 80s so I suppose that makes sense. But for Creepy my DP and I referenced movies with really intense colour schemes, Jennifer’s Body and It Follows being the two greatest visual inspirations. I’m sure there are so many incredible female horror filmmakers out there right now and I wish I could reference some of them but I’m just too soft to watch their films.
Do you think you’ll work in the horror genre again? What is it about Horror that attracts you?
I definitely will! Before starting to work on Creepy I didn’t critically think of horror films, except for Raw, that movie is intense and so perfectly representative of female sexuality, but after we started and even more so when we started playing at festivals and I began to watch all these different stories being told it really hit me that horror is the perfect platform for trauma. The Monster movie is a form of working through trauma, in a lot of cases. It’s giving strength to the weak or looking at an issue in a less theoretical way. These things are haunting me and I’m going to show them literally haunting me. My respect for the genre really grew in these last two years of running with Creepy and I think that’s what most attracts me to horror.
What’s next for you?
I have a handful of hopefuls on my plate for this year. I’m currently in talks with a production company to direct a YA horror film. Nothing is set in stone yet but hopefully it will be soon – they’re a rad company and I’ll be thrilled to collaborate with them. The other big project is Michael and I are really pushing to get a feature off the ground, think surreal dark comedy or whimsical grit type genre. We’re finalizing the script now and are hoping to get some attention for it in the coming months.
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